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August 1940


Author Affiliations


Arch Surg. 1940;41(2):532-541. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1940.01210020330029

Isadore Auguste Marie Francois Xavier Comte, a French philosopher who lived from 1789 to 1857, originated the dictum: "You can know little of any idea until you know the history of that idea."

Perhaps all physicians have speculated to themselves as to what concept or idea has fixed the name of Wilhelm Friedrich von Ludwig (1790-1865) to a pathologic condition so firmly that the attachment has existed for over a century in spite of the natural opposition of the members of the medical profession to the association of proper names with symptoms, signs or diseases.

In fact, this hostile attitude toward retention of von Ludwig's name in association with the morbid changes he described became so acute that in 1892 a heated debate on the subject took place between Délorme and Nélaton.

Even in the United States, Ashhurst, as an invited guest of the Western Surgical Association in 1929, remarked

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